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Help In The Studio

Don’t laugh, trying to work with a new photo sizing program. So far can’t get pictures to load correctly, but my webmaster will get it figured out now that I am giving her something to work with.
I get a lot of help in the studio, not all of it exactly what is needed.

What is the most helpful hint, tip, hack you have learned for making your studio or sewing space your happy place.

I know for me, when I practice a 15 minute “Fire Drill” once a day, usually before I leave my studio at night, I get so much more real sewing and designing done.

Share your hints in the comments.

Happy Stitchin’

Which Way is Up?

Have you every played that game with King and Queen fitted sheets, Which Way is the Top?

top label
Label from leftover binding or 2 1/2 strip.

Cut light colored strip into 5 inch pieces.

Fold in half, right sides together and sew side seams.

Turn right side out, press, then use a permanent laundry marker to write TOP or other notation.

Sew or safety pin to the top seam of fitted sheets or any item you want to easily identify the top edge.

Pig in a Blanket

Pigs in Blankets
Pig in a Blanket is an easy recipe.
Ask for help heating the oven to 375 degrees, and maybe with opening packages.
dry hot dogs
Open the package of hot-dogs and place then on a paper towel.
Roll them back and forth to dry them off.
This will make the “blanket” stick better.
Place the Pigs in Blankets on the large baking pan.
Place pan in Pre-heated 375 degree oven.
Bake 12-13 minutes until the blankets are golden brown.
Pigs in Blankets
While the Pigs are baking, let’s clean up.
Carefully fold up the parchment you were working on and put in the garbage. You should have only the table knife to wash.
When Pigs are baked, use pot holders or oven mitts to remove the pan from the oven.
Let them stand 5 minutes before eating.
You don’t want to burn your tongue.
Use a spatula or pancake turner to remove the Pigs in blankets from the pan.
Remember to turn the oven off.
If you bake these,and mom makes a salad, you will have teamed up to make lunch or dinner.
Serve with catsup, mustard or ranch dressing.

Individual Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler
Individual Peach Cobbler
Fresh peaches make yummy cobbler, fruit on the bottom with a sweet biscuit on top.
Peach Cobbler
And there you have one serving size Peach Cobbler.
Let it stand about 10 minutes before eating. You don’t want to burn your tongue.
If you have whipped cream of vanilla ice cream, they go very well with Peach Cobbler.
I hope you are all having fun trying new recipes and learning cooking skills.
Next week, Pigs in a Blanket.

Tie On Emergency Face Mask

Tie on Mask
Emergency Tie On Face Mask
You will need 1 Fat Quarter close-weave, all cotton fabric (18 x 22 inches) and a spool of sewing thread, scissors, and rotary cutting equipment is very helpful
Fat Quarter
Cut Fat Quarter
From the Fat Quarter, cut 2 strips, 6 inches by 22 inches
and 4 strips, 1 1/4 inches by 22 inches
Or, if you happen to have some pre-made folded binding on hand, you can skip the strips and cut a third 6 x 22 inch strip.
Sub-cut Fat Quarter
Then cut the two, 6 inch by 22 inch strips into four, 6 inch by 9 inch rectangles. Pin two together with right sides facing.
Sewing seams
Sew along each 9 inch edge use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Turn and Press
Turn the tube you have made right side out and press sewn edge even and smooth. I know…..where is that iron anyway?!?
Seriously, pressing will make your life easier in this project.
Top Stitching
Top stitch along each 9 inch edge (example on right) Thread that matches camouflages sewing imperfections, but hey! This is an emergency so any color will do.
Pleats
Place Three Pinch Pleats and pin to hold.
Pleats completed
Do the same at both ends, making sure the pleats go the same way on both ends. We don’t want any smirky looking masks scaring patients.
Now for the fussy part. Take the 1 1/4 x 22 inch strips to the ironing surface and press each in half lengthwise like the top example. Then fold in 1/4 inch on each side and press toward the center crease, bottom example
finished binding
Now, press the strip so raw edges are tucked inside and the piece is a little over 1/4 inch wide. Then fold it in half to mark the center of the strip, like the top example.
Binding Pinned in Place
We are getting there.
Place the center fold at the center of a pleated edge and pin in place through all layers. then use two more pins to secure at the edges of the mask.
Sewing Tie
Make life easier, don’t mess with trying to hem the end of the tie.
This is not a wedding dress!
Just stitch across the tiny end, turn and sew down the open side of the tie, close to the edge. Your machine may be finicky about this step, but go slow and talk sweetly to it, and it should cooperate.
Sewing on the ends
When you get up to the mask piece, take a moment to check and adjust pieces so all is going under the presser foot as you want. Sew as close to the mask piece as you can, then finish up by sewing the edge and end closed on the other part of the tie.
Safety rectangle
To make sure the tie stays securely sewn to the mask, top stitch this “safety rectangle” as shown. We don’t want any masks flying apart in a healthcare professionals haste to “gown up” to attend to the ill.
Tie on Mask
Repeat for the other side of the mask and there you have it.

Pressing Matters

Accurate pressing is just as important as accurate seams in producing well pieced quilt blocks.

Scraps to Small to Save
Even scrap blocks need accurate pressing or they will pucker along the edges, making them hard to join together.

Inaccurate Piecing
pleated seam
Note under the tip of the iron how the seam is pleated and needs pressing flat.
Setting the seam
To avoid those pleated seams, first press from the wrong side, as shown, to set the seam. Doing this will aid in producing a crisp, flat seam on the top side.
Right Side pressed seams
When you turn the piece over and press from the top side, you can use the tip of the iron to “dig” into the seam-line and spread the seam flat.
Pressing aids
There are many tools, aids and irons available to improve and make accurate pressing easier. Mary Ellen’s Best press is great for getting out stubborn creases. And I stick with Black and Decker, because they steam good, and the two Managers of Operation have animated discussion on the ironing board, and irons have been the casualties.

Angels, arent they.

Organizing Your Sewing Space for the New Year

I work in a very small studio. 10 feet by 10 feet. Things are packed in pretty tight.

everyday studio
What my studio looks like most mornings

Projects are here and there, but they all have their space.

messy studio
What my studio may look like at the end of the day

So how do I keep this small space so I can work in it? My first line of defense is doing a 15 minute pick up at the end of each day. I use a kitchen timer to keep me focused.

kitchen timer
A Kitchen Timer keeps me on track.

Most of the time I have several projects going at once and I like to keep things portable so I can take with me to work on. Wrap-n-Totes from my pattern #1501 work well to corral a messy project or to transport a hand sewing project.

Wrap-n-Tote #1501
Wrap-n-Totes make great project totes.

I have many projects in ArtBins and 2 Gallon Zip Closure Bags, labeled and including a Project Action Sheet where I have listed next steps, supplies needed and a proposed finish date.

Project Action Sheet
Project in a 2 Gallon Bag with Project Action Sheet.
ArtBin
ArtBins make great storage and take along containers.

Of course no work space is complete without a good paperweight. Punkin, our Manager of Operations, likes filling that duty.

Punkin the paper weight
Punkin’s favorite quilting job.

I am offering an Organized Sewing Space Workshop at Experience Quilts!, Odessa, Washington, beginning Saturday, January 18th, 2020. 509-982-2012

Looking for a Guild or Shop Workshop, contact us at our info@laurassagecountryquilts link.

What organizing tips can you share with your fellow readers?

Color Play

Color
Playing With Color

Try this fun color game.

It will help train your eye to see all the color variations, and the endless combinations you can use in a quilt.

Pick any photo that catches your eye.

Then, working with your stash or scrap bin, cut 2 inch squares from all the fabrics you find that match bits in your photo.

Look for dark, medium and light shades, tints, hues, tones and multi color fabrics.

Then arrange in gradations as shown in this photo, and glue in place. Now you have a tool to help you select fabrics for your next project.

Make more than one. Try a pastel photo, or a photo you don’t like, stretch your color palette a bit.

This is fun to do with groups at guild meetings and retreats.

Yes, I do workshops on the fun color game.

Cranberry-Apple Pie

Cranberry-Apple Pie
Cranberry-Apple Pie

Sometimes I do something besides quilt. Here is the recipe.

Pastry for a 10 inch 2 crust pie

6 cups peeled, cored and slices golden delicious apples

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Place apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon in a large kettle and stir to combine. Let stand 15 minutes. Place over medium heat and cook stirring occasionally until liquid begins to bubbly. Add cranberries, and cook about 30 seconds as skins pop. Pour into pastry lined 10 inch pie dish. Top with second crust. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 minutes more. Serve warm or cold. Yield: 8-10 slices.

Note: I like to brush the top crust generously with buttermilk and sprinkle liberally with granulated sugar.

 

“Hot Spot” Table Mat

Hot Spot Table Mat

Put a stop to the endless rearranging of hot pads and trivets on a buffet table with this Jumbo “Hot Spot” Table Mat. Cover the entire buffet with this “Hot Spot” and it is easy to adjust dishes and keep the buffet surface protected.

Simple to make with the following materials.

1 1/2 yards each 100% cotton top and back fabrics

1/4 yard 100% cotton binding fabric

1 1/2 yards Insul-brite

Thread to match fabrics

Backing, Insul-brite and Top

Prewash fabrics and press. Cut one piece from each fabric the width of the Insul-brite (about 23 inches). You may adjust the size to fit your table space.

Trim Ends

Layer back, Insul-brite and top. Trim ends square and even. Back and top fabrics will probably shrink and shift some, and you want it to do this before you sew and bind.

Mark Quilting Lines

Mark some lines to quilt, or stencil a design to quilt. You don’t have to quilt closely as Insul-brite is well bonded.

Machine or Hand Quilt

Secure the layers with quilters safety pins. Use a walking or even-feed foot on your sewing machine to quilt along lines you have marked. Or machine quilt freestyle.

Add Binding

Use a binding fabric that goes with both sides for a reversible “Hot Spot”. I chose sunflowers for late summer and fall, and poinsettias for Christmas for this one. The first one I made is Christmas on one side and Valentines on the other. I am planning Easter and summer flowers for the next one.

“Hot Spots” are machine washable and dryable.